'Praagaash', Kashmir's First All-Girl Rock Band Call It Quits Following Fatwa

5 February 2013

Earlier this week, one of Kashmir's top clergyman, Mufti Azam Mufti Bashiruddin, publicly issued a "fatwa" against three Kashmiri girls for being part of a rock band which performed in Srinagar in December 2012.

Mufti Azam Mufti Bashiruddin said he has done so "because music is banned in Islam".

"I issued the fatwa where I said to the girls that music is not good for society (...) All bad things happening in the Indian society are because of music. The parents of the girls should try to correct these teenage girls and teach them Islamic values instead of exhibiting them as source of entertainment for thousands of people. I will be forced to issue another fatwa if these girls and their parents do not take corrective measures to mend their ways."

The teenage girls (all from 10th grade) came into the spotlight late last year following a show at the annual Battle of the Bands competition in Kashmir, in which they defied convention by stepping into the male-dominated field of music. Online threats (including rape threats), hate messages and a large number of abusive comments had forced the band to keep a low profile since their debut performance - in which they won the competition beating a number of all-boy bands.

News emerged yesterday of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah offering the band named "Praagaash" (light) support and refuge in New Delhi, however this morning it has become evident from the bands Facebook that at least two members have decided to call it quits, only two days after the Grand Mufti issued the fatwa declaring singing as un-Islamic.

The case drives homes musical oppression within the region whilst also being a stark reminder of Russia's three piece all girl punk band Pussy Riot being jailed for two years, after staging an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral last year.



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